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How to develop social media policies for schools and how to understand the legal issues surrounding the same.

How to develop social media policies for schools and how to understand the legal issues surrounding the same.

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  • 5:125 Personal Technology and Social Media; Usage and Conduct - only relates to staff not students. Should be included with 6:235 – electronic resources
  • Background: Deputy district attorney filed § 1983 complaint against county and supervisors at districtattorneys' office, alleging that he was subject to adverse employment actions in retaliation for engagingin protected speech, that is, for writing a disposition memorandum in which he recommendeddismissal of a case on the basis of purported governmental misconduct. The United States DistrictCourt for the Central District of California, A. Howard Matz, J., granted defendants' motion forsummary judgment, and district attorney appealed. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Reinhardt,Circuit Judge, 361 F.3d 1168, reversed and remanded. Certiorari was granted.Holdings: The United States Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy, held that:(1) when public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, they are not speaking ascitizens for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not insulate their communicationsfrom employer discipline, and (2) here, district attorney did not speak as a citizen when he wrote his memo and, thus, his speech was not protected by the First Amendment.
  • Part of social suspension- Kara was prevented from crowning the next “Queen of Charm” in that year’s Charm Review, having been elected “Queen” herself the previous year.
  • The school district had a policy in place regarding eligibility to represent its schools in elected offices that read as follows:All students elected to student offices, or who represent their schools in extracurricular activities, shall have and maintain good citizenship records. Any student who does not maintain a good citizenship record shall not be allowed to represent fellow students nor the schools for a period of time recommended by the student’s principal, but in no case, except when approved by the board of education, shall the time exceed twelve calendar months.Avery had signed the policy, attesting that she had reviewed it with her family.
  • that “[t]he bd may suspend or by reg authorize the supt of the district or the principal, assistant principal, or dean of students of any school to suspend a student for a period not to exceed 10 school days or may expel a student for a definite period of time not to exceed 2 calendar years, as determined on a case by case basis, if (i) that student has been determined to have made an explicit threat on an Internet website against a school employee, a student, or any school-related personnel, (ii) the Internet website through which the threat was made is a site that was accessible within the school at the time the threat was made or was available to third parties who worked or studied within the school grounds at the time the threat was made, and (iii) the threat could be reasonably interpreted as threatening to the safety and security of the threatened individual because of his or her duties or employment status or status as a student inside the school. The provisions of this subsection (d-5) apply in all school districts, including special charter districts and districts organized under Article 34 of this Code. school districts should amend their acceptable use and student discipline policies in order to incorporate the changes to the school code made by Public Act 97-340. It is important that students are on notice that engaging in prohibited behavior, such as that defined above, will result in discipline up to and including two-year expulsions.

Iasa social media presentation 2012 Iasa social media presentation 2012 Presentation Transcript

  • Policy and Legal Considerations for Social Networking in Schools 1 STEVEN M. BAULE, PH.D. SUPERINTENDENT, NORTH BOONE CUSD JULIE E. LEWIS, ESQ. SCARIANO, HIMES & PETRARCA, CHTD.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Schools & Social Networking 2 Social networking is a new frontier Emerging area in both policy development and the law = no clear answers  Cases regarding social networking are confusing/contradictory  Must analyze how court decisions on other subjects will apply to this new frontierScariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • 3Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Acceptable Use Policy 4 Should include:  Scope of use – educational purposes only  Prohibited uses  Rules of use including full disciplinary options  Liability - district is not liable for the accuracy of information on the web, etc.  Privacy statement – that the e-mail, etc used on the district’s computers are district property and users should have no expectation of privacy  Password responsibility  Cyberbullying and sexting should be addressed specifically as well as in your bullying and harassment policies.Schwartz, Janes &Reed, A Principals’ Guide to Internet Policies & Electronic Communication, IASB Education Law October 2008Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • 5Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Basic Tenets of a Social Networking Policy 6 1.Purpose of social networking for the organization 2.Be responsible for what you write 3.Be authentic 4.Consider your audience 5.Exercise good judgment 6.Respect copyright laws 7.Protect confidential information 8.Bring value to the organization Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Types of Policies 7Ethics and new rules for educational ethicsAccess to Electronic Networks (Resources) - AUPsHarassment of studentsBullying and harassmentDiscipline codeBe specific about cyber bullying, etc.Electronic devicesSextingRestrictions on publicationsSocial media contracts for staffSocial media purpose or mission statementScariano, Himes & Petrarca.
  • Illinois Policy Guidelines 8The IASB PRESS service includes several policies which relate to socialnetworking: 5:120 Ethics and new rules for educational ethics 5:125 Personal Technology and Social Media; Usage and Conduct 6.235 Access to Electronic Networks Change networks to electronic resources 6.235 AP Access to Electronic Networks 7.20 Harassment of Students 7.180 Bullying and Harassment 7.190 Discipline Code Be specific about cyber bullying, etc. 7.190 – AP 5 Electronic devices 7.190 – AP 6 Sexting 7.310 Restrictions on PublicationsDon’t currently have any specific guidance regarding social networkingScariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • IASB Policy 7:310 9Non-School Sponsored Publications Accessed or Distributed On-CampusFor purposes of this section and the following section, a publication includes, without limitation: (1) writtenor electronic print material, and (2) audio-visual material, on any medium including electromagnetic media(e.g. images, MP3 files, flash memory, etc.), or combinations of these whether off-line (e.g., a printedbook, CD-ROM, etc.) or on-line (e.g., any website, social networking site, database for informationretrieval, etc.).Creating, distributing and/or accessing non-school sponsored publications shall occur at a time and placeand in a manner that will not cause disruption, be coercive, or result in the perception that the distributionor the publication is endorsed by the School District.Students are prohibited from creating, distributing and/or accessing at school any publication that:1. Will cause substantial disruption of the proper and orderly operation and discipline of the school or schoolactivities;2. Violates the rights of others, including but not limited to material that is libelous, invades the privacy ofothers, or infringes on a copyright;3. Is socially inappropriate or inappropriate due to maturity level of the students, including but not limitedto material that is obscene, pornographic, or pervasively lewd and vulgar, contains indecent and vulgarlanguage, or sexting as defined by School Board policy and Student Handbooks; Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • 7:310 Continued 104. Is reasonably viewed as promoting illegal drug use; or5. Is distributed in kindergarten through eighth grade and is primarily prepared by non-students, unless it isbeing used for school purposes. Nothing herein shall be interpreted to prevent the inclusion of material fromoutside sources or the citation to such sources as long as the material to be distributed or accessed isprimarily prepared by students.Accessing or distributing “on-campus” includes accessing or distributing on school property or at school-related activities. A student engages in gross disobedience and misconduct and may be disciplined for: (1)accessing or distributing forbidden material, or (2) for writing, creating, or publishing such materialintending for it to be accessed or distributed at school.Non-School Sponsored Publications Accessed or Distributed Off-CampusA student engages in gross disobedience and misconduct and may be disciplined for creating and/ordistributing a publication that: (1) causes a substantial disruption or a foreseeable risk of a substantialdisruption to school operations, or (2) interferes with the rights of other students or staff members. Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Sample Policy Guidelines 11• Do not post any financial, confidential, sensitive or proprietary information about theDistrict or any of our clients and candidates.• Speak respectfully about our current, former and potential customers, partners, employeesand competitors. Do not engage in name-calling or behavior that will reflect negatively onyour or the District’s reputations. The same guidelines hold true for vendors and businesspartners.• Beware of comments that could reflect poorly on you and the District. Social media sitesare not the forum for venting personal complaints about supervisors, co-workers, or theDistrict.• If you see unfavorable opinions, negative comments or criticism about yourself or theDistrict, do not try to have the post removed or send a written reply that will escalate thesituation.• If you are posting to personal networking sites and are speaking about job related contentor about the District, identify yourself as a District employee, use a disclaimer and make itclear that these views are not reflective of the views of the District.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Sample Policy Guidelines, cont. 12• Be respectful of others. Think of what you say online in the same way as statements youmight make to the media, or emails you might send to people you don’t know. Stick to thefacts, try to give accurate information and correct mistakes right away.• Do not post obscenities, slurs, harass, or personal attacks that can damage both yourreputation as well as the District’s reputation.• Under no circumstances shall a staff member post any information about a specific studentwithout approval from the superintendent or designee.• When posting to social media sites; be knowledgeable, interesting, honest and add value.The District’s reputation is a direct result of our employees, students and their commitmentto uphold our core values.• Do not infringe on copyrights or trademarks.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • First Amendment 13 What about a Facebook page created by a school?Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • First Amendment Public Forum Analysis 14 Does the school allow the public to comment on its Facebook page?  Ifso, a court could find that the school intends the page to be a designated public forum  The school has effectively granted permission to the public to engage in expressive activity on the page as a matter of course  Caveat: a court has not ruled on this issueScariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • First Amendment Public Forum Analysis 15 What about other modes of social networking?Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • First Amendment 16 Any prohibition of expression on a designated public forum is subject to: Strict ScrutinyScariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • First Amendment 17  Strict Scrutiny  Any content-based prohibition must be: Narrowly drawn Effectuate a compelling state interestScariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • First Amendment 18 Social networking options for schools to avoid infringing on First Amendment rights: • Do not engage in social networking. • Engage in social networking, but disable “comments,” “wall posts,” and “discussions.” • Engage in social networking and allow comments, but do not remove comments on the basis of content.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • OMA 19  Comments or posts on a social networking site could be considered a gathering by electronic means, and thus, be considered a meeting under the OMA where a quorum of a public body comments or posts for the purpose of discussing public business.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • OMA ~ Considerations 20 Members of public bodies of the school district should be aware of this potentiality of a violation of the OMA when engaging in social networking activities. They should refrain from posting, commenting, or discussing public business via Facebook or other social networking platforms, especially if other members have already commented on the same topic.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Employee Social Networking 21 The Supreme Court’s holding:  The Court assumed, but did not decide, that Quon had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his text messages The City had a no-privacy policy regarding computers and emails, but it did not explicitly include text messagesScariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Employee Social Networking 22 The Supreme Court’s holding:  The employer’s search of the text messages was reasonable Non-investigatory work-related purpose Justified at its inception Not excessive in scopeScariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Employee Social Networking 23 Lessons for public employers from Quon:  Have a clear policy that all employer-owned communication facilities are subject to search at any time and that no employee should have any expectation of privacy  Only conduct a search if it is based on a legitimate, work-related purpose  Make sure that the search is reasonable in scope – don’t be more intrusive than necessaryScariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Employee Social Networking 24  Another reason to tread carefully when conducting a search of employees’ social media use:  The Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C.A. § 2701, et seq.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Employee Social Networking 25 What if an employer searches an employee’s work computer, discovers the employee’s username and password for electronic accounts unrelated to the employer’s system (For example, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, o r Hotmail), and then examines the employee’s communications in the private account?Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Employee Social Networking 26 This could be a violation of the federal Stored Communications Act.  The Act prohibits unauthorized access to an electronic “facility” to examine stored communications.  It is a criminal offense with civil fines of $1,000 per violation in statutory damages, without need for proof of actual damages.  It is unclear whether the act of access is a single violation or whether each communication retrieved and reviewed is a separate violation.  The financial implications of this question are enormous.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Employee Social Networking 27 To avoid a violation of the Stored Communications Act:  An employer should not examine an employee’s private electronic account without permission.  If the investigation is criminal in nature, the access information should be given to police who can then execute a warrant.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Employee Social Networking 28 Employment decisions based on social networkingScariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Employee Social Networking 29 What if an employee tweets a disparaging remark about her supervisor, the school principal?Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Employee Social Networking 30 Disciplining her could violate her First Amendment rights.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Employee Social Networking 31 Pickering v. Board of Education, 391 U.S. 563 (1968)  Teacher dismissed after writing a letter to the local newspaper, which criticized how the school board and the superintendent handled funds.  The Supreme Court held that this violated the teacher’s First Amendment rights.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Employee Social Networking 32 Pickering v. Board of Education (1968)  First Amendment rights violated when speaking :  As a citizen (not as part of their duties as an employee), and on Issues of public concernScariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Employee Social Networking 33 Balancing act:  Even if an employee speaks as a private citizen on a matter of public concern, he or she may still be disciplined: Pursuant to an employer’s policy, and Where speech infringes on the employer’s operations or on its ability to provide effective and efficient services.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Employee Social Networking 34 Speech is not protected by the First Amendment when statements are made pursuant to public duties  Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006)  Schools should require that employees make clear that they are not representing their employer when engaging in personal social networkingScariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Employee Social Networking 35  What should a policy on employee social networking include?Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Employee Social Networking 36  All employer-owned communication facilities are subject to search – no expectation of privacy.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Employee Social Networking 37  Any social networking activities done pursuant to the employee’s job duties or that occur during working time or while at work are not private and are subject to employer monitoring.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Employee Social Networking 38  Whether and when employees may access social media during working time?Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Employee Social Networking 39 Even when engaging in social networking on your own time, make clear that your opinions do not represent those of your employer, and do not post anything that undermines the ability of the employer to operate effectively.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Students, Technology and Social Networking 40 How should schools regulate this behavior?  Can schools search cell phones and other electronic communication devices?  When can schools regulate off-campus conduct? The Standard:  Tinker v. Des Moines, 393 U.S. 503 (1969)  Material or substantial disruption rule: schools may limit students’ First Amendment or other constitutional rights only when the students’ conduct causes a material or substantial disruption in the orderly operation of the school.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • What conduct may schools regulate? 41 This standard is not always easy to apply, see:  Layshock v. Hermitage School Dist. 593 F.3d 249 (3rd Cir. Feb. 4, 2010)  J.S. ex rel. Snyder v. Blue Mountain School Dist. 593 F.3d 286 (3rd Cir. Feb. 4, 2010). Two cases:  Same day  Same circuit  Opposite conclusions from panel of 3rd CircuitScariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • What conduct may schools regulate? 42 Layshock Snyder In Layshock, the panel found that  In Snyder, the panel upheld a a ten-day, out-of-school ten-day, out-of school suspension violated the student’s suspension of the student. free speech rights under the First  Using her parent’s computer, the Amendment. student created a fake MySpace  The student set up a fake MySpace profile of the school principal profile of his school principal. The with a friend. The fake profile did profile, which the student created not state the principal’s name, but on his grandmother’s computer at included a picture of the principal his grandmother’s house, referred from the school district’s web- to the principal as a “big steroid site. The profile included profane freak,” a “big hard ass,” and a “big statements suggesting that the whore” who smoked a “big blunt.” principal was a pedophile.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • What conduct may schools regulate? 43 The full Third Circuit, sitting en banc, heard arguments on these two cases in June of 2010. On June 13, 2011, the Court ruled that the students could not be suspended for creating the parody profiles on MySpace of their principals on home computers because there was not a sufficient nexus between their behavior and school. In Layshock, the Court ruled unanimously that the student’s First Amendment rights were violated when he was suspended and stated, “[w]e do not think that the First Amendment can tolerate the School District stretching its authority into Justin’s grandmother’s home and reaching Justin while he is sitting at her computer after school.”Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • What conduct may schools regulate? 44 In the Blue Mountain case, in which the majority opinion included 8 of the 14 justices, the Court also found that the student’s First Amendment free speech rights were violated because “J.S. was suspended from school for speech that indisputably caused no substantial disruption in school and that could not reasonably have led school officials to forecast substantial disruption in school.” However, Judge D. Michael Fisher, who was joined by five other justices, wrote the following about the majority opinion in the dissent, “It allows a student to target a school official and his family with malicious and unfounded accusations about their character in vulgar, obscene, and personal language.”Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • What conduct may schools regulate? 45 The dissenting justices were of the opinion that the school district had the right to discipline J.S. because substantial disruption was reasonably foreseeable. The School District has decided to file a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court to ask it to review the decision of the Circuit Court of Appeals.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • The Good News … 46 Courts are less inclined to uphold students’ First Amendment rights in cases where students are disciplined for ridiculing/bullying other students Kara Kowalski suspended for creating and posting to MySpace a discussion group web page that ridiculed a fellow student and included pictures of her. After creating the group, Kara invited 100 people on her friends list to join. The next day, target’s parents, along w/ target, went to high school to file harassment complaint with vice principal. Kowalski v. Berkeley County Schools, 652 F.3d 565 (4th Cir. 2011), cert. denied.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Kowalski v. Berkeley County Schools continued: 47 School administrators determined that Kara had created a “hate website” in violation of school policy against “harassment, bullying and intimidation”; suspended her from school for 10 days, issued a 90-day social suspension and precluded her from participating on cheerleading squad for remainder of year. Kara sued alleging that suspension violated her free speech rights under the First Amendment and due process rights under Fourteenth Amendment, but 4th Circuit held in favor of school and school officials noting that “there is surely a limit to the scope of a high school’s interest in the order, safety, and well-being of its students when the speech originates outside the schoolhouse gate,” but determined they were “satisfied that the nexus of Kowalski’s speech to Musselman High School’s pedagogical interests was sufficiently strong to justify the action taken by school officials in carrying out their role as the trustees of the student body’s well-being.”Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Avery Doninger v. Superintendent over “Jamfest” 48  In Doninger v. Niehoff, 642 F.3d 334 (2nd Cir. 2011), cert. denied, Avery was punished for sending an e-mail to students and parents affiliated with the school and for posting a message on her personal blog criticizing the school for cancelling a school event – “Jamfest” – an annual battle-of-the-bands concert that Avery and other Student Council members helped to plan.  Avery called school officials “douchebags” on her blog and her e-mail encouraged people to contact the superintendent to “piss her off even more.” Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Doninger v. Niehoff continued: 49 Avery had accessed an e-mail account of the father of one of the students from the school’s computer lab to send a mass e-mail in spite of a school policy that specifically restricted “access of the internet or e-mail using accounts other than those provided by the district for school purposes.” The next day, the students gathered outside the administration office to protest the cancellation. The Court concluded that the substantial disruption test established by Tinker was met and that school officials could prohibit Avery from running for class secretary.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Can schools search students’ cell phones? 50 The T.L.O. standard is applicable to a school official’s search of a student’s cell phone.  Klump v. Nazareth Area School District, 425 F. Supp. 2d 622 (E.D. Pa. 2006).  Seizure of a student’s phone is justified if the student is using it in violation of school rules.  Further search of the phone is only justified if there are reasonable grounds for believing that the search will turn up evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or the rules of the school.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Can schools search students’ cell phones? 51 Proceed with caution:  If sexting is involved, a school official performing a cell phone or other electronic communication device search could cross the boundary from investigator to possessor of child pornography.  Recently, a lawsuit was filed against a school in Pennsylvania on behalf of a student who claimed the principal illegally searched her phone and found nude pictures of her on it. The district denied any liability or wrongdoing, but did pay $33,000 to the student and her attorneys in order to resolve the dispute.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Legislation 52Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Sexting 53 Public Act 96-1087 amends the Juvenile Court Act of 1987. It provides that a minor shall not distribute or disseminate an indecent visual depiction of another minor through the use of a computer or electronic communication device. It also provides that a minor who violates any of these provisions may be subject to a petition for adjudication and adjudged a minor in need of supervision. Finally, it provides that a minor found to be in need of supervision under this provision may be:  (1) ordered to obtain counseling or other supportive services to address the acts that led to the need for supervision; or  (2) ordered to perform community service. (705 ILCS 405/3-1 and 3-40)Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Sexting, Cont. 54 Information on sexting prevention is available:  http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/june09socialmedia.ht m  http://www.connectsafely.com/Safety-Tips/tips-to-prevent- sexting.htmlScariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Illinois Internet Safety Education Act 55 Public Act 95-0509 states that each school may adopt an age appropriate curriculum for Internet safety instruction of students in grades kindergarten through 12. Beginning with the 2009-2010 school year, a school district must incorporate into the school curriculum a component on Internet safety to be taught at least once each school year to students in grades 3 through 12. 105 ILCS 5/27-13.3.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Illinois Internet Safety Education Act 56The Statute recommends that the unit of instruction include the following topics: (1) Safe and responsible use of social networking websites, chat rooms, electronic mail, bulletin boards, instant messaging, and other means of communication on the Internet. (2) Recognizing, avoiding, and reporting online solicitations of students, their classmates, and their friends by sexual predators. (3) Risks of transmitting personal information on the Internet. (4) Recognizing and avoiding unsolicited or deceptive communications received online. (5) Recognizing and reporting online harassment and cyber-bullying. (6) Reporting illegal activities and communications on the Internet. (7) Copyright laws on written materials, photographs, music, and video.Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Overhaul of Bullying Statute 57 The State of Illinois overhauled its bullying statute, cited as Public Act 96-952. (105 ILCS 5/27-23.7) The new bullying law defines the act of bullying to include cyberbullying for the first time. Illinois districts are required to update bullying policies every two yearsScariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Gross Disobedience Perpetuated by Electronic Means 58 Public Act 97-340 amends 105 ILCS 5/10-22.6 and enables school boards to expel pupils guilty of gross disobedience or misconduct, including gross disobedience or misconduct perpetuated by electronic means. Explicit threat on an Internet website against school employee, student, school-related personnel; Internet website was accessible within school at time threat was made or available to third parties within school at time threat was made; and Threat could be reasonably interpreted as threatening to safety and security of threatened individual .Scariano, Himes & Petrarca
  • Questions or Comments? 59 Steve Baule baules@nbcusd.org 815-765-3322 Julie E. Lewis Two Prudential Plaza, Suite 3100 180 N. Stetson Chicago, IL 60601 jlewis@edlawyer.com 312.565.3100 x254Scariano, Himes & Petrarca